No Difference

There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between religious tyranny and political tyranny. In fact, the second was spawned from the first.

Ancients were troubled by nature’s “survival of the fittest” rule and concluded that earthquakes, floods, storms, and other natural disasters were the result of an angry god punishing evil mankind. A shaman was chosen as a mediator to approach that god with sacrificial offerings to appease its anger. But the shaman assumed great power over the people, and chose priests to assist him with similar authoritative powers. They demanded and, of course, received offerings from the people, keeping a generous share for themselves.

Soon, societies concluded that they also needed temporal rulers as well, especially to protect them from neighbors with coveting eyes. These political appointees were usually the strongest and most fearful among them. They were blessed by and granted power over the people by the religious cast in the name of their god(s). These rulers, in turn, demanded taxes from the people to pay for a host of governing authorities and to support the armies needed to protect themselves from neighbors interested in more land and riches for themselves.

Both the religious authorities and the political authorities had to justify their existence. They did so with laws that promised to enhance the lives of the people and laws that required severe payback punishment for disobedience. They also constructed myths concerning their many worthy achievements for the people. Before long, so many laws and taxes were adopted that people lost their freedom and lived under tyranny and fear for their lives.

This situation was repeated over and over again among many nations throughout history. Whenever control over the people grew into tyranny, people would finally either escape the country or form a rebellion against the tyrants. Thousands, even millions, of lives have been lost for such causes. But even after winning their freedom, people always seem to be persuaded by myths which eventually lead them into slavery and fear for their lives all over again.

When will people ever learn?

When will people finally see through the myths of an angry god who seeks appeasement for evil ways and payback through a worthy sacrifice? When will they finally learn that their freedom requires personal responsibility and vigilance? When will they finally learn to teach their young about this freedom and what is required to keep it? When will they finally see through the promises of would-be leaders who merely want power over them by saying something that sounds good and doing something totally opposite? When will they learn that their church’s confessions and books are misleading and not so holy after all? When will they learn to respect and follow a good person’s character, actions and caring ways, rather than his/her personhood? Making a hero or god-like person out of him/her only destroys what he/she stood for. When will they learn to question authority rather than blindly follow authority?

John Hawkins, a writer for Townhall (www.townhall.com), recently (Dec. 11, 2012) wrote about five myths that political authoritarians have created about themselves. Notice how many of these myths also describe religious authoritarians.

“(They are) sanctimonious, mean spirited and advocate policies that don’t work…. They can laud themselves for courage because they take a stand everyone they know agrees with, pat themselves on the back for their compassion as they maliciously insult someone that disagrees with them and congratulate themselves for their charitable behavior as they give other people’s money away. (Their) mythology is one thing, but what it actually looks like is a different beast entirely.”

Hawkins then expands on the five myths they pretend to emulate: loving science, caring about education, being tolerant, not moralizing, and loving the poor. It’s worth the read.

Henry Hasse, 12/12/2012

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Published in: on December 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

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